It's still two weeks away and already Melbourne Music Week is selling out fast. With no time to lose, here are our best picks from Melbourne's premier music showcase.
What you need to know
- Melbourne Music Week runs over 10 days from December 3 – 12, plus four headline events across January and February
- The music showcase boasts 300 artists (95% local) spanning 65+ events across 23 locations
- We’ve got our top 12 picks from the festivities right here
Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.
The opening weekend
December 3: MPavillion, Sub Club
Our first pick of the lot would have been Wominjeka, the free opening night event at MPavillion in Kings Domain, curated by First Nations artist Bumpy and featuring Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Squid Nebula, Kee’ahn , Izy, dj pgz and a performance by the Murrundaya Yepengna Dance Troupe.
But it’s not the only show in town on the Friday night; iconic Melbourne live music venue Max Watt’s is home to the MMW Club this year and will host The Operatives Presents: a night of soul, hip hop, funk and RnB.
This is followed by The Operatives label kicking off Kick Ons over two-levels at Sub Club. They’ll be performing much-loved edits, hip hop, garage, and party jams upstairs, and downstairs, attendees can expect a bassbin special of jungle, footwork, and DnB.
December 4: MPavillion, Max Watt’s, Sub Club
After punishing your body with some night-time madness, return to MPavillion to treat it to Morning Wellness at 10am on the Saturday December 4. It’s a free class that will teach you to regulate your nervous system through qigong, myofascial release, self-massage, acupressure points, yin yoga, and meditation.
Straight after, An Afternoon in Naarm will showcase some of our most amazing First Nations emerging artists, with performances spanning acoustic, hip hop, pop, live looping, storytelling, and spoken word.
While your days might be spent chilling out at MPavillion, your nights are all about Max Watt’s and Sub Club. On Saturday night at Max Watt’s, WAT Artists take over with a monumental lineup, featuring Akosia, Bumpy, Claps, Dan Cut Copy (DJ set), Loure, Morgan Wright and Simona Castricum. When that finishes at 1am, WAT moves the party over to Sub Club but with a whole new roster spinning the decks until 7am.
December 5: Boat Builders Yard, Colour, Max Watt’s
There are some wildly different options on the table on Sunday. You can head to an all-day open-air bash at Boat Builders Yard for some house and techno smack bang on the Yarra.
Alternatively, head to Colour for the Carlton International Jazz Festival, before things get seriously loud on Sunday night when Max Watt’s host PINCH POINTS, CLAMM, Delivery and Zig Zag for a massive night of Melbourne’s best garage and post-punk.
The mid-week highlights
December 6 – 8: Recital Centre, ACMI, The Curtin
On Monday December 6, head to the wonderful Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at Melbourne Recital Centre to be absorbed by award-winning composer Luke Howard and digital artist Simon Burgin. The pair first collaborated at Dark MOFO and they’ll be bringing a live, immersive audio-visual experience to an incredible venue.
On Tuesday December 7 Carl Cox and co will be tearing it up at Max Watt’s or instead consider a homegrown electronic heavyweight – Chiara Kickdrum – in a whole new environment, producing a live score to one of the most celebrated Spaghetti Westerns of all time, Clint Eastwood’s A Fistful of Dollars.
On Wednesday December 8, Dallas Woods, Galaxy Hop, and Nadia Phillips & The Girlfriends combine at The Curtin for a night of hip-hop, folk, indie and punk, bringing the flavour from Castlemaine and regional Victoria to the big smoke.
The big weekend
December 9 – 11: Recital Centre, The Curtin, The Capitol, The Toff in Town
The 2021 Music Victoria Awards kick off their annual awards night on Thursday December 9 to celebrate the top releases of the year. It will feature a jam-packed lineup of performances by top-drawer Victorian talent and you can buy tickets online. Or, if you’re feeling like a chilled one, tune in via Channel 31 or YouTube.
On Friday December 10, head to The Curtin to see Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice flogging their incredible new album Remember The Future? alongside label mates It Thing and Muma Ganoush. On Friday and Saturday you can catch Finding Figaro Presents at The Toff in Town, which will present a selection of different intimate sets each night that are then recorded and sent out exclusively to attendees of the show.
The biggest event on Saturday December 11 is Protopia; a selection of panel discussions encompassing the future, past and present of the music industry, headlined by artist and composer Holly Herndon, and finishing with a mesmerising performance by CORIN.
The big finale: Live Music Safari
December 12: The Last Chance, Cherry Bar, Section 8 and more
Live Music Safari is Melbourne Music Week’s final free party, spread across the city’s best live music venues. This one’s packed to the rafters so we advise checking the entire Live Music Safari selection here.
Events include – but are definitely not limited to – a whole day of jazzy house from the likes of Tiana Khasi and Beatnik Collective at Section 8, Kylie Auldist and Baby Mullet playing a night of blues, rock, and soul at Cherry Bar, or Press Club, Face Face and Way Shit rocking The Last Chance.
But wait, there’s more
January and February: Melbourne Museum, Recital Centre, The Forum
If Melbourne Music Week can actually last 10 days, then who’s to say it can’t stretch right on into February as well.
In February, there’s a screening of the inspiring, tragic and intimate life story of David McComb (The Triffids) at The Capitol at RMIT on Saturday 5, then Kardajala Kirridarra at Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday 17, among many others.
Head to the Melbourne Music Week website for the full program, all the details and to buy tickets (while they last).